Groin still issue for A-Rod
Perhaps it would have been better if Alex Rodriguez had not tried to play Thursday night. You can’t fault Yankees manager Joe Girardi because it is always a good feeling to write A-Rod’s name in the fourth spot of any lineup card.
Yet in coming out of the game before even coming to bat, Rodriguez left the Yankees with a utility infielder as their cleanup hitter. A-Rod admitted after the game that he felt cramping in his right groin during batting practice and that the tightness was still there 10 minutes before game time. The usually cautious Yankees decided to have A-Rod give it a try, but when he barely moved to make a play on Adam Jones’ grounder in the hole that became an RBI single, it was time for a move.
Ramiro Pena took over and was 0-for-2 with a sacrifice, the first by a Yankees cleanup hitter since Bubba Crosby in 2004 in a game that went extra innings after he had replaced Jason Giambi. Rodriguez experienced stiffness in the groin last Sunday in Toronto and came out of the game for the last inning. After a day off Monday, Rodriguez was back in the lineup Tuesday and Wednesday nights and was 2-for-10 but fielded his position without incident. Now he is headed back to New York to see what the doctors say.
The inning that A-Rod was in the field was a weird one for A.J. Burnett and essentially responsible for his first loss at Camden Yards in six career decisions. The righthander somehow made it into the seventh despite struggling with his command all night. Burnett yielded only one walk but gave up eight hits, hit two batters and crossed up catcher Chad Moeller into committing two passed balls. Actually, A.J. hit three batters in the first inning, but Nick Markakis swung at and missed the pitch for strike three that eventually hit him in the foot.
Advice to opposing teams: if you’ve got a pitcher ready for his first major-league start, throw him against the Yanks. Rookie Jake Arietta’s victory marked the fourth consecutive time the Yankees have lost to a pitcher making his big-league debut.